4 Things Jay-Z Taught Me About College

You don’t have to live in a big city to feel like you’re living in a big city. Okay, let me clarify that. A big city isn’t the only place where you’ll find culture and entertainment. All you have to do is go to college. A college town is full of events, entertainment, and various cultures. Just walk outside, explore, and hum some of Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” to yourself. Let’s start it off. “In New York…”

“Concrete jungles where dreams are made, oh”

Music is abundant at college. To earn course credit, take basic lessons to learn a new instrument. It’s at least a tad more interactive and interesting than sitting in a lecture hall for hours at a time. If you’d rather watch than play, there are tons of shows that occur on college campuses in campus buildings, around town, or at local clubs. Colleges even house acapella groups that often perform covers. What’s especially attractive is that most of these shows have cheap entry fees. The band names may not be nationally known, but the music is just as entertaining with smaller, local bands.

There are ways to become involved without actually playing an instrument. Colleges attract music festivals like ice cream shops attract people who have a sweet tooth. College officials are often looking to recruit students to help advertise, set up, run, or clean up after a festival. Take on these opportunities for a weekend activity or to help boost your resume. Either way, there are plenty of tunes to be heard in a campus town.

“There’s nothing you can’t do”

Want something a little more visual? Luckily, there’s something called “movies.” Like music, there are various film festivals throughout a school year at colleges across the country. Like musical festivals, there are many ways to get involved. Submit your own film or help run the event. At the University of Illinois, there’s the annual Ebertfest where students are encouraged to get involved.

Festivals aren’t the only way to get involved, though. Some colleges choose to play movies for a low price either to kick start the fall semester or even throughout the academic year. These films may not be the latest blockbusters, but each screening provides cheap entertainment. On a college budget, that’s always welcome.

Turn your experiences with music or film into a potential career. If you don’t want to get directly involved with the festivals, write about them! Student or campus run publications around campus are usually searching for new, willing writers to cover events. With a little time commitment and a bit of knowledge about writing, this is a fantastic way to get your name out there in a byline. Contact local publications to see how you can volunteer and contribute.

“These streets will make you feel brand new”

Everybody needs a good laugh once in a while, especially with term papers and final exams piling up. If there’s one thing a college campus is great for, it’s improvisational theater. Almost everywhere you look, there are flyers for improv nights. Some people are looking to tell jokes, while others are looking for comic relief. If comedy sparks your interest, college is the perfect place to find it. For instance, Seth Meyer of “Saturday Night Live” did a college tour recently, covering a wide array of topics. Get out of your dorm room once in a while for a good laugh.

“Big lights will inspire you”

All over campus are general speakers and lectures. Sometimes they are academic. Where else can you learn about the Arctic Circle in the same place you can learn how to bake a delectable dessert? The possibilities are practically endless. Even President Barack Obama spent time talking at college campuses, addressing young voters about the country’s issues. PostSecret, an online blog community, recently visited some colleges, including the University of Illinois. You never know who will make a visit to your college. Just be ready for when they do.

A big thanks goes out to Jay-Z for singing along to this article. Now it’s time to go forth into the college world and explore all the culture that awaits you.

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Rebecca Jacobs

Rebecca Jacobs

Rebecca Jacobs is a sophomore at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, pursuing a News-Editorial Journalism degree. An avid bookworm, Rebecca reads all texts Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut when she’s not busy writing for The Black Sheep on campus. Back home, she spends a vast amount of time enjoying nature with loved ones.